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Jill Terreri Ramos
By Jill Terreri Ramos March 11, 2020

Trump said Bloomberg polled poorly in tough times, but that's not always true

If Your Time is short

  • Public opinion polls are mixed on whether Michael Bloomberg handled crises well as mayor of New York City.  

President Donald Trump ridiculed Michael Bloomberg on Twitter, saying New Yorkers didn’t approve of how he performed as New York City mayor during tough times. 

"Ever since (Mini Mike) Bloomberg’s bad debate performances, his support has dropped," Trump tweeted. "Dropped a lot. Only his highly paid consultants, who are laughing all the way to the bank, still support him...And by the way, he did not poll well as mayor in handling crisis!"  

Bloomberg made his leadership skills a significant part of his argument for why voters should have considered him for the White House, so we wondered about the president’s criticism. Even though Bloomberg has dropped out of the presidential contest, he has said he will spend money to defeat Trump, and Trump has continued to feud with him on Twitter.  

We checked with the Trump campaign, and Deputy Communications Director Zach Parkinson sent us several examples of times when Bloomberg’s approval rating suffered in times of crisis. We also looked for examples.

They include:

  • 2005: Forty-five percent of New Yorkers approved, and 44 percent disapproved of Bloomberg’s handling of a transit strike, according to a WNBC/Marist poll
  • 2009: During a nationwide economic crisis, Bloomberg’s approval ratings dipped, according to a Marist Poll. The poll also found that 46 city voters disapproved and 43 percent approved of his handling of the crisis.    

  • 2011: Fifty-one percent of city voters disapproved of the way Bloomberg handled Occupy Wall Street protestors, according to a Quinnipiac University poll

  • 2011: Bloomberg’s approval rating dropped after he was widely criticized for his handling of a snowstorm, and 71 percent of voters disapproved of his response to the storm, according to a Marist/NY1 poll.  

The polls, however, were not all bad for Bloomberg in the aftermath of trying times:

Featured Fact-check

Elected after crisis

It should be noted how Bloomberg came into the mayor’s office. As a candidate, Bloomberg seemed like a longshot on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the day in which the city was to hold its primary election. But during the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, his popularity rose, and he narrowly won the general election.

The 2001 mayor’s race could have hinged on many factors, not least of which that Bloomberg vastly outspent his rival, Democrat Mark Green. 

The Bloomberg campaign did not respond to emails about this fact-check. Bloomberg, however,  laid out his case for his experience handling crises as mayor in a television ad filmed in late February. The ad highlighted his experience dealing with the aftermath of Sept. 11, the blackout of 2003, West Nile virus, and Hurricane Sandy.  

Bloomberg has also expressed his ambivalence about polls in the past, telling The Atlantic magazine in 2012, "If I finish my term in office … and have high approval ratings, then I wasted my last years in office. That high approval rating means you don’t upset anybody." 

Our ruling 

Trump tweeted that Bloomberg "did not poll well as mayor in handling crisis!" 

Sometimes Bloomberg’s approval ratings fell when the city faced tough times, sometimes they didn't. Voters disapproved of his handling of a big snowstorm, Occupy Wall Street protestors and a financial crisis. Voters, however, approved of how he handled recovery efforts after Sept. 11, managed the city during a blackout and responded to some major storms. 

We rate this claim Half True. 

Our Sources

Twitter, @realDonaldTrump, March 2, 2020. 

Email conversation, Zach Parkinson, Trump campaign deputy communications director, March 2, 2020. 

The New York Times, article, "Making his Pitch to Voters, Bloomberg Peddles His Experience in a Crisis," Feb. 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. 

The New York Times, article, "The 2001 Elections: Mayor; Bloomberg Edges Green in Race for Mayor, McGreevey is an Easy Winner in New Jersey," Nov. 7, 2001. Accessed March 4, 2020. 

The Washington Post, article, "How 9/11 helped Mike Bloomberg become New York’s mayor," Feb. 24, 2020. Accessed March 3, 2020. 

The Atlantic, article, "The Bloomberg Way," November 2012. Accessed March 3, 2020. 

New York Daily News, article, "Poll: Hurricane Irene whipped up Mayor Bloomberg’s approval ratings," Sept. 13, 2011. Accessed March 3, 2020. 

CBSNewYork, article, "Poll: New Yorkers Give Pols, Bloomberg’s Signer Lydia Callis High Sandy Grades," Nov. 20, 2012. Accessed March 4, 2020. 

The New York Times, article, "Mayor Gains Boost In Poll but Is Facing Wide Disapproval," Sept. 9, 2003. Accessed March 4, 2020. 

The New York Times, poll results from Aug. 25 to 29, published Sept. 11, 2002. Accessed March 4, 2020. 

Reuters, article, "NY Mayor Bloomberg's approval rating falls in poll," Feb. 20, 2009. Accessed March 4, 2020. 

CBSNewYork, article, "Snow Response Batters Bloomberg’s Approval Rating," Jan. 7, 2011. Accessed March 5, 2020. 

CBSNewYork, article, "Poll: More New Yorkers Disapprove of Mayor Bloomberg’s Handling of Occupy Wall Street," Dec. 14, 2011. Accessed March 5, 2020. 

WNBC/Marist Poll, "New York City Transit Strike," Dec. 21, 2005. Accessed March 5, 2020.

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